How Far Would You Drive for Poetry?
My answer: Round trip 260 miles. And let me tell you it was well worth the trip.
Today I drove a great distance because I wanted hear Naomi Shihab Nye present a poetry reading and writer's workshop at a community college in Brainerd. She is a poet, author and songwriter.
So I thought driving 131.74 miles round trip to Faribault this past week certainly would be considered an easy drive. I was on a mission to hand deliver a book to a well-known Faribault blogger, poet and author. When I saw this book at a local writing event I knew the perfect person who would enjoy reading this Minnesota collection of stories.
Little Minnesota 100 Towns Around 100 is by Jill Johnson. It a fun and engaging collection of stories that covers 100 towns with populations around 100. Who would have ever guessed there could be 100 towns still in existence today and thriving with a population of around a 100.
The stories with current photos highlights each towns earliest roots to present day life and culture of the community. Jill Johnson and her husband in my estimation took the ultimate road trip to compile this book.
But running a very close second would be Audrey Kletscher Helbling of Faribault, MN.
Audrey grew up in southwestern Minnesota and settled in the Faribault community in early 80's. A communications degree had since led her on to an illustrious writing career. Her work has been published in poetry anthologies, devotionals, magazines, newspapers, on billboards, greeting cards and in two books.
Audrey is passionate about blogging, http://mnprairieroots.com/about/ photography and touring small towns and rural areas. Audrey's blogs highlight these trips with her own photography accompanied by texts describing the scenery, people and their community events.
Audrey and I have connected through blogging and poetry. I had not actually met Audrey in person till last week when I decided on what I call a "field trip" to her town.Faribault is a city in Rice County, Minnesota. It is the county seat. The population was 23,352 at the 2010 census. Faribault is approximately 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Faribault is regarded as one of the most historic communities in Minnesota with settlement and commercial activity predating Minnesota’s establishment as a U.S. terrritory.
The city's namesake, Alexander Faribault, was the son of Jean-Baptiste Fairbault, a French-Canadian fur trader and Elizabeth Pelagie Kinzie Haines, a woman of the Dakotah tribe. He is credited with fueling most of the early settlement activity in the area beginning in 1826, when he established a fur trading post on the banks of the Cannon River.
After an easy drive from the Twin Cities, my sister and I decided a coffee run was the perfect stop to begin our exploration of the town.
One store not to be missed in the downtown area is The Cheese Cave. It is a mecca for cheese lovers and culinary connoisseurs. They offer over 40 premium cheeses.
Their star attraction is award winning St. Pete Blue Cheese. It is America's only sandstone cave-aged blue cheese.
If you can't make a trip to Faribault their cheeses can be ordered online.
The Faribault Woolen Mills is the oldest manufacturing entity in the state of Minnesota dating back to 1865. The historical mills is a family run business located along the banks of the Cannon River.
After multiple stops in the morning we headed to Audrey's home for lunch. What a treat for us to be the recipient of her hospitality.
Tomorrow I will post pictures with the recipes of the wonderful lunch Audrey shared with us. Her comfort foods as she labeled them were a perfect midday stop. We loved her twist on some classic recipes.